US seed import permits

Laura & Dave
Wed, 27 Feb 2013 10:52:40 PST
Hello William and others
   I just wanted to add my perspective to the this discussion, regarding 
problems with the Seed permits.  I must say that I haven't had any, not even any 
minor ones.  I've used the permit only two or three times a year, ordering seed 
from Canada and Sweden.  But I hope to use it a bit more this year (yeah, like I 
need more seed!).
   I've just renewed my permit for the second time, both renewals being 
conducted online.  I believe I did use the mails to get the permit originally, 
but that was almost six years ago and approaching the fuzzy edge of memory.  A 
suggestion for smoothing the online system would be to make it more clear how to 
apply for a renewal, as all menus lead you to applying for a new permit.  I sent 
a query to the help desk, and got a prompt reply from Chris Bembenek, who 
explained that one does have to use the new permit forms, and only after getting 
part way through it do you get to specify that it is a renewal.  Once submitted, 
it only took three weeks to receive my new permits, labels, etc. in the mail.
   To make it easier on the seed exporter, when I order, I always include a list 
of the seed I've ordered, with the senders and my particulars on each page, and 
for each taxa its name with a space for the country of origin.  Sometimes the 
exporter uses their own lists, and sometimes they write on the list I sent and 
return it with the seed.  I've had only had one item removed from a shipment; 
from the stated reason, I'm quite glad I didn't have to deal with it myself.
   The last two orders each took about three weeks to get processed (from date 
received stamp to approved stamp on package).  This seems very reasonable to 
me.  Whether processing these small lots of seed packages is considered a treat 
or a chore I don't know, but I understand that they are held until there is a 
sufficient number for someone to sit down amongst all the references needed, and 
process the lot of them.
   One last comment: I noticed that when one renews the permit the expiration 
date is three years from the date of application, rather than three years from 
the expiration date of the old permit. Small matter, as the permits are free, 
and can be renewed at any time.

This has gotten a lot longer than intended.  Sorry, sorta!

Dave Brastow
   Tumwater, Washington USA
     Port of Entry on the label is the Seattle regional office.

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